Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hickory Top May 2014

Scotsgrove went to Hickory Top Schooling Event last Saturday with 7 horses and 11 riders. Sarah had hurt a hip and was scratched. In eventing, if you scratch after Closing day ( specified on program) you can substitute either a horse or a rider, or forfeit your entry. Her parents were kind enough to call me, the ride was offered to Carson who had signed up too late to do three phases but was entered to do a ride a test in dressage and a cross country school.  That took us from 12 to 11 riders, but left us with 6 eventers, and 5 Ride A Test.

Eventing is the triathlon of riding. The same horse and rider must complete all 3 tests, and the rider with the fewest penalty points over the three phases wins. This organizer also allows entries to do a ride a test in dressage and/ or a cross country or stadium schooling round. Those are not placed and don't ride for ribbons, but do get the written dressage test back to learn from and get some experience.  This is the best thought out introduction to eventing that I have ever found. We had 5 Ride a test riders:
Rachel on Folly scored 39.4. Both were tense and we had some issues with getting that first halt, but it improved after that and I am very proud of Rachel for stepping up and going!  It's a big step!
Kara on Bill Bailey scored 32.2.  As Kara can't see across the arena, I jogged with to give directions and didn't get to see the ride!
Ella on Folly  scored 31.6 with a little smoother test from the mare.  Also a first time out and  a well organized and effective ride.
Yasmin on Folly scored 28.8. by now Folly was well organized and settled, and this pair has been together the longest. A very nice first ride in public!
Maddie B. on Bill Bailey scored 33.4. I jogged with her too as she had not had time to learn her test from memory, so I did not see her go! Maddie was another of our first timers!
All of these ride a test riders rode Introductory test B Walk/ Trot, walked cross country and watched the stadium jumping, so they are much more prepared for a first time event!

Amoeba is the first level at Hickory Top ( unrecognized schooling events can name their divisions as they wish and describe them as they wish) and the organizer suspends the usual eventing rule of "Unauthorized Assistance" by which a rider is eliminated if spoken to while riding a test, so I can coach from the sidelines and they can have a sidewalker or outrider with them on cross country. They also rode Test B Walk/ Trot.  Jumps were 18" with one 2' exception on XC and they were not yet being timed over fences. There were 4 entries in the division and we had 2!
Benay stepped up from Ride A Test last time to Amoeba on China. She scored 31.6 on dressage, putting her in first place at that point!  She set out on cross country, walking between fences, doing a few steps of trot, and coming back to walk. With each jump, China got a little more powerful over the fence and through the landing. Benay was doing a superb job of giving over the fence, then sitting back and down to slow and stop the mare. I was very proud of her riding!  by the time we got round to reentering the front pasture, China was landing in a pretty strong canter and wanting to go back to the trailers. She refused at the stonewall jump, I kept walking, sure that Benay would get her over on the second approach. I was right about that, but then the mare looked at me and shied right, away from me. Benay spun left and basically stepped down off her, but her knees buckled as she hit so she went down. The fall eliminates in the jumping phases, so we were done.
Katheryn, having been offered Folly to event, asked for the new horse, London Fog. She'd gotten in no more than 2 lessons on him and he has never jumped before coming to Scotsgrove very recently!  They scored 33.3 in dressage, putting them in 2nd after that phase. Katie tacked up Folly and went as her outrider, and they were clean cross country, then using Katie again as a sidewalker in Stadium Jumping, went clean to finish on their dressage score and, being the only one of 4 Amoebas to finish all phases, won the division! Great job!
Pre-Tadpole rides the same tests as Amoebas, but Unauthorized Assistance is back in play and they have to do it by themselves, no coaching,, no outriders or sidewalkers.
Carson took the ride on Bill Bailey, scored 31.3 in dressage and was in first place after that phase.
Danika on Skittles scored 31.6 for 2nd. Jiminy and Mallory scored 47.5 as Jiminy was leery of the white chain around the arena and would not go deep into his corners, was tight and tense, so "hollow" in his frame. He is very green and was overwhelmed. But he didn't get eliminated and was in 5th after dressage.  Hill Country and Maddie W. came in at 34.0 for 3rd!
Cross country saw Bill refuse jump 1, having been presented at an angle. From there on, Carson sent him straight to the middle of the jumps and no further penalties were assessed. None of our others had penalties on course, so we stood Skit in first, Country 2nd, Bill third, and Mallory 4th after this phase.
Stadium took a toll as Bill and Jiminy were each eliminated for 3 refusals on course, so final placings were Danika and Skit in 1st and Maddie W. and Country in 2nd!  Very exciting!

We went on to the usual victory dinner at Olive Garden and I did get the big white trailer in and out of Harbison Blvd!  We were 22 at table and very ready for dinner! Having met at the barn about 5:30 and gotten on the road a little after 6 AM, we returned and took care of horses, cleaned the trailer and unloaded tack, then put horses out to pasture. A long tough day and I am sure all our riders had no trouble sleeping deeply Saturday night!  I am very proud of all my riders!  They rode well and were good horsewomen taking care of horses between phases and showing great sportsmanship and camaraderie. My thanks to Laurie and Katie for a long day of great effort helping coach, tack, sidewalk, and a thousand other tasks!  It is a great barn family!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shakerag Hunter Trails

Dear All,

Katie, Sarah B. and I loaded horses in the dark, Bob joined us in truck, and we rolled exactly on the planned 6:45 AM!  Got to Shakerag Clubhouse to enter and warm up at 9:15, and Trials began at 10 with Warm Up Over 2 foot fences.

Both Erin, who was entitled, and Tricks, who was not, went like very green horses, lots of looking!  It was a big class and we did not place. Class 4 was Hunter Trail, and was an interesting obstacle course. Tricks and I rode into the ring and had to pick up a jacket from a jump standard, carry it while we crossed a plywood on landscape timbers bridge, then put it on a fence, open a rope gate, pass through and hook it back,  dismount and lead over a log, remount, and hand gallop back to the center. While he had flatly refused to go near that bridge in the beginning, Tricks conquered his terrors and did it for me. The rest was all old hat to him, and I was very proud of his performance. We stood 5th, behind 4 long term members.

Our next was supposed to be number 11, so I put Tricks into trailer and looked forward to watching the girls! Suddenly they were announcing Handy Hunter, so I ran to read the course map while the girls ran to get my horse!  It was indeed a tight, handy course, with some specified gallop stretches and some trot fences.  He can turn on a dime and jump, so I was pretty confident. We trotted the first fence, jumped the next 2, on a circle, out of canter, then straightened downhill at the gallop to an in and out, folded back to jump the "in" from the other direction, come down the field to two "skinny" coops with big wings. One was to jump in, halt for 5 seconds, trot over the second, gallop across the field to a line of 4 coops, jump the second in the line, break to trot and fold back to jump the 4th coop in that line, and walk through a gate. The skinnies got to Tricks and he quit. I let him look, but as his back muscles started to relax, I legged him up, and we jumped the first. The halt was no problem, because when they mowed the field the mower had thrown mud and clippings on the face of the second coop and it dried there! He stopped dead in holy horror!  I had a full 5 seconds to negotiate with him, then got him to trot over the monster, but he landed determined to get away from it. We were supposed to gallop, and we did!  Flew the big friendly coop, next stride after landing he was back in trot and turned and was very handy over the other coop in the line, had already done gate once so that was no problem.  I finished the course still astonished and irate about the quits, as he doesn't quit very often, and I was thunderstruck when we won the class. A nice silver tray and our names engraved on a perpetual trophy in the clubhouse.

Katie was up next on Echo in Junior Hunter Over Fences and did a lovely job! Echo has been timid about coops and did look at the skinnies, but she put her leg on and he answered and they were clean over the course and stood third!  She not only made him look a mannerly junior hunter, but in Sissy's words, he looked like a reliable school horse! Katie was third!

Sarah took Truffle in Junior Hunter Under Saddle and rode well in a narrow area of undulating hill. She got her canter leads both ways, but Truff did slip on the wet grass and break to trot. She sat right into him and lifted him back to canter, on the correct lead, and she stood third in her class!

I was very proud of both girls! They really rode and looked great! 

Photos by Katie Tighe and she regrets not getting any of Sarah or herself!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shakerag Hunter Pace

Dear All,

Abby and I got up early to be out the back gate by 5 am Fri to hunt with Shakerag at Brush Creek! Had a nice run and wonderful hound music! 
The group was going back to kennels and on to a meal at GinaBelle's, but that was out of our way, so we caught brunch at Huddle House in Danielsville and wandered gently home!
After lessons Fri we had a houseful, and the alarm went off at 4:15 again on Sat!  Great grooming and tack cleaning, loading of hay, helmets, bridles, horse health book, and finally, 9 horses and riders, and we were off by about 6! We had 3 teams in the walk/trot/canter division of the Hunter Pace.  Katie on Echo and Caitlyn on Rio, new rides out in public for both, did well, jumped a few of the jumps and had fun!  Soline on Mickey and Allison on her own Dee enjoyed the course, although Mickey was pretty excited to be off the home farm for the first time in several years! Sarah and Karson, on Clue and Billy, eventually joined Yasmin on Folly, Rachel on Truffle and me on Erin. It was Karson's first time out with Team Scotsgrove, as it was for Rachel and Yasmin.  The threesome was in the walk/ trot division, but we did have about 4 short canters. It was a 6.4 mile course. We were only 1 1/2 minutes off optimum time and won our division!  
The Club sported riders to lunch  and a raffle of mostly horse equipment (several of us won items!)  and then we loaded up and came home to take care of horses, clean tack and trailer, and put horses out to pasture! We had been about 10% of the entries for the day!  I left the barn about 5 pm!  I bet we all slept well last night! Thank you all for your hard work. We were complimented on our turnout (Caitlyn had pulled a lot of manes! but everyone groomed thoroughly), many members commented on the juniors being a breath of fresh air, and Yasmin at 8 was by far the youngest participant and created a bit of a stir!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Harmon Field Foothills Riding Club Dressage and Combined Test

We had a very satisfactory day at Harmon Field for Foothills Riding Club Dressage and Combined test. I took Erin for her first off-farm experience!  Emma took Echo, the first time either of them has been off farm to compete in several years! Sarah Bailey took Bill, and Katie took Mickey, both using it as a prep for Hickory Top!

The girls approved of the new truck and we made a quiet trip up. I was first up, with test A. I warmed Erin up for an hour, of high energy, and constant whinnying, lots of looking, but she did try to settle for the test and I was quite pleased with it. We stood second!  Sarah and Bill did Test B and it was a nice solid test, but in a big division and she did not get a ribbon.  I rode Test B in a different division, and Erin was still whinnying and distracted. In a little higher test, she could not hold her own but I was still pleased, and we were 6th.  

Katie jumped a pretty nice course on Mickey at 2'. I put Erin on the same course, not knowing what to expect, as she has trotted over everything that height at home, not bothering to jump. The full dress course, with flowers, numbers, flags got her attention. She jumped, and she is very like her mother, turning onto a line, focusing and being completely committed to getting it done! She was clean over the course and I was thrilled! We both learned a great deal! She about her job in life, and me about her!

Emma then rode Echo in a third division of Test B, and did a really lovely, tactful job of settling him and producing a very nice test! They were 6th!  Katie went back to jump a longer course at 2'7" and Mickey was not very confident or generous. I ran to the trailer for the crop, and they went back and had more success on a second course.  The set up was $5 a trip.....Jumping was not pinned, just available for practice.

We had a bit of a wait for Katie's dressage test, it sprinkled but did stop raining without getting heavy!  Katie was pleased with her Beginner Novice Test B, and her Mom got to see her ride! She came home with third place in a big division! So we collected our written dressage tests and ribbons, and came home to another hour's work taking care of horses, tack, trailer but with smiles on every face!

I spend next Sun at Harmon Field again, judging the Harmon Hopefuls horseshow!
Heads up, heels down, and kick on!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Jumping Branch from Ms. Leslie

What an exciting Saturday!

This past Saturday Ms. Leslie and Caitlyn with Katie and Allison on Bill and Truffle went to the schooling event at Jumping Branch in Aiken. Laurie and Gwen ran the barn while barn hand Abby rode in the Green Creek Hunter Pace. Needless to say, we were a hub of activity!

From Ms. Leslie:
As we were in one of the two Tadpole divisions and scheduling went the usual top division to more basic, we ambled away from the barn at 8:30!
It was a challenge to figure out the horse assignments for Sat lessons without Bill and Truffle, and I am trying to lighten the load on Folly, who is in the last month of her pregnancy. I have never had a mare with her work ethic - they've always insisted on a maternity leave, sometimes 6 months of the 11! But we got all lessons mounted and Laurie and Gwen ran the barn. 
We were on show grounds about 11:30 for 1:30 dressage ride times, so plenty of time for lunch and a relaxed warmup.  Allison rode first and did a great job on her first dressage test requiring a canter, getting both leads although Truffle is more than a little stiff on one side!
Katie has shown Bill several times with canter in the new Intro Test 3, but this was her first time doing Beginner Novice test B. She had their best test to date until Bill popped a shoulder and stepped out of the gate at A. Leaving the arena in an obedience test is usually grounds for Elimination but Katie threw him back in the ring and kept riding and never lost her poise and concentration. She and I were devastated. I found the Organizer and appealed for Katie to be allowed to jump for the experience and she agreed to Stadium but not XC.
We had about three hours to walk the two jumping courses so kids would know them. The organizer had chosen to run Stadium Jumping first - the historic order is dressage, cross country, then Stadium, but you can do either and some organizers prefer to sidestep liability by going this order, and eliminating problem competitors with jumps that knock down before you go to their solid XC jumps! 
Allison rode a perfect stadium course on Truffle, choosing a mix of trot and canter in order to be accurate, as others had missed jumps through a lack of control! Katie did her best course to date on Bill, choosing to keep him cantering throughout and they landed on the correct canter lead every time!
Allison had left to ride crosscountry when I very sadly collected Katie's number pinney and went to turn it in. Turn in was not where I expected, near the score sheets, so I collected the kids' dressage tests (you get the test form back from the judges!) and glanced at score sheets - Katie was in 7th place after dressage, no big ugly red "E" on the scoresheet! Glanced at the test form, judge had docked her 2 points for an error of test! But she had not been eliminated! I shot out of that shed calling her back, we slammed the pinney back on her, and off she trotted, just barely making it to the start box for her posted start time! Missing that would have eliminated us! The turmoil was probably the reason for a refusal at jump 1, but she disciplined Bill and rode the rest of the course without a hitch. Allison had also had one refusal on course, but both girls finished all three phases, which I regard as winning.
There were lots of horse for sale ads posted on the wall near scoresheets, and in that community the lowest price was $7500, one was six horses "each fairly priced 10k - 25k". Our girls were riding lesson horses, not competition horses but they were the riders with the deepest seats, and kindest hands out there! They rode forward and had a lovely rhythm to their pace. I am very,very proud of them!

We're ALL very proud of our riders! Congratulations!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Additions!

Nope, that's not Dimples!
(photo by Emma Phifer)

While updates are proving to be slow, I just realized I could update pretty fast on the Whinny! This is our newest addition, Morning Glory. Leslie found her online up in NC and I think she's down for a two week trial, but we're already falling in love with her.

(photo by Jackie Smith)
Our other addition is Dunny's Blue Boy, fondly called Blue, is a sweet green gelding. He doesn't know much, but a lot of the advanced riders are giving him a great schooling. He's falling into the lesson string quite well.

(photo by AK McMillan)

Another addition is Mickey, an ex-racehorse and foxhunter. He's progressing in leaps and bounds here at Scotsgrove. While he's only being used for advanced lessons right now we're hoping this experienced gentleman will settle into his job as time goes on and memories fade.

OTHER NEWS: Pan and Emi have now moved back down to Berry College for the semester. I'll find some way to keep them on the website! Perhaps start building "Friends of Scotsgrove" their own pony pages... ^.~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Postponed Hunter Pace

It happened last year too... the soaking rains of winter. :P Poo.

Duke Power re-seeded grass all along under the power lines this fall and so there are tender grasslings up there. With the recent SOAK of a rain the footing is quite horrible and the grasslings are easily torn up. A week doesn't give the earth nearly enough time to dry out and that's if we don't get another rainfall.

So we are postponing to our rain date Jan 14th and hoping that by that time the ground will be better! Follow the Western Carolina Website to get the latest updates and changes!